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In life whatever a person chooses to do has a consequence. It may be a good one or it could be a bad one. For example, a man decides to go to the driving range and hit some golf balls. All of his balls go down the line and he feels good. The next day he goes to the driving range and hits some balls. He feels good about his swing. He goes home that night and his shoulder is sore. He has to take some Tylenol to relieve the pain. He made the choice to hit the balls. The good consequence was the balls went were he had hope and he had enjoyed himself. The consequence is that now his shoulder hurts.
Each and every action or decision that a person makes has a reaction to it. If one chooses to go to school and work hard one attains an education. It one decides to sleep on the couch, one may get a backache. No decision a person makes stands alone.
It means that we are always affected by the choices we make, no matter what. Everything that we do potentially has some impact on our lives. The quote is saying that we cannot ever prevent those consequences from happening.
This seems very true to me, just judging from what has happened in my own life. It seems that many things I do have consequences, even if I do not think they will. Many times, the consequences are ones that I would not ever have thought of.
You can see a similar idea in many works of literature. For example, the short story "The Monkey's Paw" shows a family being unable to escape the consequences of a choice they made, even though they never would have expected their actions to lead to these particular consequences.
Sir Isaac Newton stated: "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." Everything you do has consequences, whether for good or for bad.
You drop a rock into a lake and it makes a splash. Then, ripples begin to spread out from the drop site in ever widening circles across the lake. They never cease until, eventually, waves are lapping up against the beach or against the side of a boat. The waves are little, or they are big, depending upon the size of the rock that was dropped into the water. But, herein lies the proof of Newton's theory: the waves didn't stop until they came up against something that made them stop.
The choices we make in life are like those rocks flung at random or dropped deliberately into the lake of life. They make a splash, either big or little. They make ripples, some large, some small, that spread out across humanity and life in ever widening circles, never stopping until they can no longer spread. A word, a deed, never does go unheeded. We affect others; they affect us. The law of Cause and Effect--it's irreversible.
What a great quote! It has a bit of a negative connotation to it the way it is expressed, but keep in mind that life is about choices. As your prior posts aptly explain, no matter what we do, there is a response. It could be positive or negative based on the choices and the circumstances. For instance, if a woman is in an abusive marriage and there are children involved, she has two choices. She stays in the marriage, suffers the abuse, and her children witness this to become either abusers themselves or the victim of abuse in the future. Or, she could take a risk and escape with her children. In this case, if she gets help, she lives in a healthier environment, thus teaching her children through example that every person is valuable and worthy of feeling safe. Her children then become stronger people with healthy self-esteem and most probably will not become victims of abuse or abusers in their futures. By one choice, the wife effects the futures of not only herself, but her children and their children.
Every choice brings its own set of consequences that will be a result of those choices. It is impossible to escape consequences that result from a person's choices. It doesn't say anything about whether results will be positive or negative.
I think it is about responsibility. As others have said every choice we make as a consequence associated with it, some good, some bad, however since we made the choice we have to also live with the consequence.
Our choices are determined by who we are, what we believe, what we dream, and etc. The results of those choices continually hone and whittle our natures. Each choice becomes a part of the physical, emotional, and mental history we build for ourselves.
Most religions teach something like this as well. Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism all teach the doctrine of karma. Our actions (karma) lead to consequences in future experiences, and since there is reincarnation, we have an infinite time in future lives to suffer the consequences of our deeds. Other religions teach there is some other kind of eternal consequence to our moral actions. Certainly Christianity and Islam teach there are Heaven and Hell as reward/punishment for what one does with their life.
I think the emphasis on choice is somewhat overdone, though, since the consequences are often beyond our control, but we still have to live with the results of our decisions. My favorite take on the dangers of our choices comes from the Sufi poet Rumi:
Who makes these changes?
Who makes these changes?
I shoot to the right the arrow lands left
Ride after a deer and find myself chased by a hog
I plot to get what I want and end up in jail
dig pits to trap others and I fall in
I should be suspicious of what I want
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